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Baron and Beyond

By Bob DiCesare

Sat next to a scout from the San Antonio Spurs Sunday but he didn't give up much when I asked about Billy Baron's NBA prospects. So postgame I turned to Marist first-year coach Jeff Bower, who spent 15 years with the Charlotte Hornets in such capacities as GM and coach. Here's what he had to say when I asked him about Baron:

"I think he's terrific as a player now. I think the way he plays the game are things that a lot of teams will really like. I never plot a guy at this time of year honestly because you don't know the draft and you don't know how many people are going to be involved in it.

"But I know this: He's a winner. He's got skills. He's got size. He's got deep shooting ability. He's got play-making ability. And he is a competitor. And I know those are all qualities that every NBA team would value and will do their research and see. When it's all said and done I would expect him to be rated or ranked ahead of a lot of guys. I think he's the type of kid that helps your team and is going to have the poise to compete and help a team.

"It's too early, honestly. The people that are talking now are usually guys that aren't involved in decision-making that are saying where people are going. But he would be a guy that a lot of people are excited about and would want to dig very deep to find out about in my opinion."

Because of Nicholson, scouts will come

---NASHVILLE, Tenn. -One of the main attractions to St. Bonaventure for guard Matthew Wright, in addition being close to his home in Toronto, was the presence of Andrew Nicholson.

Guards like to play with talented big men – they free up space to shoot, make them look better on assists, clog up the middle when they get beaten defensively, etc. – and Nicholson forced NBA scouts to come to Olean to watch practice, giving his teammates exposure as well.

“As a guard, you want to affiliate yourself with a good big man and me knowing that he’s getting a lot of looks by NBA team, he draws the NBA scouts to practice,’’ Wright said. “If you practice well, they also see you.’’

Point guard Charlon Kloof said it was one of the greatest moments when coach Mark Schmidt informed the team that scouts were in attendance.

“At first you’re nervous, but then that’s why I like my seniors that much and my coaches so they’ll walk you through it,’’ Kloof said. “Once you’re comfortable, then it’s over but it’s a great experience.’’

---Rodney McKissic


Minnesota deals another pick in Flynn trade


---The Jonny Flynn to Houston NBA Draft Day trade apparently hit a snag when the Rockets' team doctors raised issues with Flynn’s hip injury, Yahoo is reporting. To prevent the deal from falling apart, Minnesota sent a 2012 second-round pick to the Rockets, according to Yahoo.

The issues wouldn’t have kept the former Niagara Falls and Syracuse point guard off the court, but did raise some concerns for the long-term. Whether Minnesota had been forthcoming with the information prior to the trade is unclear.

---Rodney McKissic


Draft night

Mack-kemba ---Seth Davis provides draft profiles for 40 of the top NBA draft prospects in the country like UConn's Kemba Walker and Butler's Shelvin Mack, pictured right.

 ---The dreams of the members of this draft class are on hold, for reasons completely out of their control.

---Can Jimmer Fredette be an explosive scorer?

---Eric Williams off-season at Niagara has been rather painful.

---Former Binghamton coach Kevin Broadus has been hired by Georgetown as a special assistant coach.

---Boston University has finally hired a new coach.

---Former UCLA stars Ed O'Bannon and Baron Davis will be returning to Westwood this summer in order to complete their studies and recieve their degrees.

---Jason King details Mike Rice's efforts to resurrect Rutgers.

---Rodney McKissic


Big East is in the money

---The Big East made more money from this past season's March Madness than any other conference in the country. In fact, theleague made nearly $6 million more than the Big XII, which made the second-most this March.

---Here's a list of the five best programs without a first round draft pick since 2000.

---Temple hasn't had a player selected in the NBA Draft since Mardy Collins in 2006, but Lavoy Allen is hoping to hear his name called.

---Rodney McKissic


2011 NBA Mock Draft

1. Cleveland – Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
3. Utah – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
4. Cleveland – Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky
5. Toronto – Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
6. Washington – Jan Vesely, SF, KK Partizan Belgrade
7. Sacramento – Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
8. Detroit – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lietuvos Rytas
9. Charlotte – Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
10. Milwaukee – Marcus Morris, SF, Kansas
11. Golden State – Klay Thompson, SF, Washington State
12. Utah – Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
13. Phoenix – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
14. Houston – Bismack Biyombo, PF, Baloncesto Fuenlabrada
15. Indiana – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
16. Philadelphia – Nikola Vucevic, C, USC
17. New York – Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
18. Washington – Donatas Motiejunas, C, Benetton Treviso
19. Charlotte – Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
20. Memphis – Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
21. Portland – Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
22. Denver – Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee
23. Houston – Darius Morris, PG, Michigan
24. Oklahoma City – Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
25. Boston – Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
26. Dallas – Justin Harper, PF, Richmond
27. New Jersey – Davis Bertans, SF, Lavia
28. Chicago – Chandler Parson, SF, Florida
29. San Antonio – Nikola Mirotic, PF, Real Madrid
30. Chicago – Iman Shumpert, G, Georgia Tech

---Rodney McKissic


Early NBA mock draft

Irving ---The Cleveland Cavaliers are the big winners in this year's draft lottery and here's an early mock of the first 14 picks:

1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke - It's time for The Recovery in Cleveland.
2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona: Could jump to No. 1.
3. Utah: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky: Coach Cal develops NBA ready PGs.
4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, PF, Turkey: Difficult to contain in the low post.
5. Toronto: Jonas Valanciunas, PF, Lithuania: Has grown four inches in four years and is now 6-10.
6. Washington: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic: Would have been a top 10 pick last year.
7. Sacramento: Kemba Walker, PG, UConn: Another Ben Gordon.
8. Detroit: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas: Needs to find a position.
9. Charlotte: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania: Add weight and you'll have Pau Gasol.
10. Milwaukee: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado: Very athletic guard prospect.
11. Golden State: Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo: Best rebounder/defender available.
12. Utah: Chris Singleton, PF, Florida State: Can defend multiple position.
13. Phoenix: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU: Perfect for the Suns offense.
14. Houston: Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas: Could be selected higher.

---Rodney McKissic


Not much payout from this Lottery

---Duke's Kyrie Irving and Arizona's Derrick Williams are the top prospects available for the NBA Draft, which holds its Lottery tonight, but the rest of the field has a lot of murkiness.

After the past four drafts produced Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and John Wall, 2011 isn’t expected to offer any can’t-miss stars. Whoever wins the lottery can’t be sure they’ll receive a franchise-changing player.

---Rodney McKissic


Syracuse's Jackson to participate in combine

Syracuse senior Rick Jackson will participate in an NBA Draft Combine hosted by the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

The two-day combine begins Saturday. Jackson will work out Sunday. Other notables expected to be in attendance this weekend are Xavier’s Tu Holloway, Rhode Island’s Delroy James and Duquesne’s Damian Saunders.

The deadline to return to school is Sunday for underclassmen who did not hire an agent and withdraw from the draft.

---Rodney McKissic


New CBA could keep kids in college longer

---Marc Spears writes that several high-ranking NBA team executives said they wouldn’t be surprised if the age limit in the new CBA is pushed to two years in college and 20 years old by the end of that calendar year. One NBA general manager says about two-thirds of teams are in favor of that change. The current CBA states that an American must be out of high school for at least one year and be 19 years old by the end of that calendar year before entering the draft.

---Rodney McKissic


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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |